Going Going Bike

Jun 152011

The Swedish capital of Stockholm is a city struggling to cater for an unexpected rise in cyclists numbers over recent years. Since 2000 the number of cyclists in Stockholm has increased by 75%, with figures almost doubling in the last 18 months. On a regular weekday, there are about 150,000 trips made by bicycle in the city centre.

In a bid to ease mounting congestion and help cyclists in Stockholm, the municipal city council is currently debating whether to allow cyclists to run red lights at traffic lights at certain periods of the day. The city council is also mulling allowing cyclists to cycle against one way traffic on certain roads.

Making breaking rules legal

Per Ankersjö, the city councillor responsible for Stockholm’s environment policy, told Swedish national newspaper Dagens Nyheter that many cyclists already broke road traffic rules in large numbers so maybe it was better to make the rule breaking legal.

Stockholm unlike other cities in Sweden has been slow in upgrading its cycle infrastructure despite the increase in the numbers of cyclists in the city in recent years.  The lack of investment, bad urban planning and the increased numbers of those cycling has created bottlenecks of congestion with cyclists taking risks by running red lights to stay ahead of motorists.

Government approval

In order to change the rules, Stockholm city council will have to gain approval of Transportstyrelsen, the Swedish Transport Agency. Sweden’s government also appointed a Commission on Cycling in 2010, which is currently reviewing traffic regulations from a cycling perspective.

Some European countries have traffic regulations that allow cyclists to turn right at a red light.

See also

Wearing a short skirt while cycling deemed a distraction

Safer routes will encourage more to cycle

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  5 Responses to “Stockholm debates running the red light”

  1. I have been turning left at triffic light since I started cycling – the only exceptions being when there are other bikes or motorbikes oncomming or if there is a policeman at the junction.
    Use common sense and there is no danger. I also always stop at red lights at a junction where I have to go straight over. Freedom from nanny state rules is one reason for using a bike in the first place!

  2. I remember them considering it – but I feel sadly it is doomed to fail.
    Laws have to consider the lowest common denominator – i.e. the most stupid cyclists. From my experience there are some real idiots out there (me included) who take far too high a risk currently – if they turn left at a red they will probably do it into the path of a cyclist / motorbike comming from the right and the DfT will end up being sued for not making laws that cover the idiot factor.

  3. [...] Despite our Mayor Boris Johnson shouting from the rooftops about how much he enjoys cycling a host of anti cycling policies are being implemented across London. Last week it was announced that cyclists will face a £200 penalty if caught riding in the “Games lanes” in case you are wondering they will be reserved for speeding Olympic VIPs across the capital. Cyclists continued to be fined for jumping red lights in a bid to avoid injury. This flies in the face of other cycle friendly cities such as Stockholm, where they are testing a scheme where cyclists are able to jump red lights. [...]

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